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ACU Home > Major Events > News > 2004 News Archive > Stone-Campbell encyclopedia to be debuted at bicentennial celebration

The three general editors (l-r): Dr. Newell Williams, President of Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University; Dr. Doug Foster, professor of church history and director of the Center for Restoration Studies at ACU; and Dr. Paul Blowers, professor of church history at Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, Tenn.

Stone-Campbell encyclopedia to be debuted at bicentennial

For immediate release
June 8, 2004

The first-ever comprehensive reference book about the Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement will be debuted at a bicentennial celebration at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, June 26.

Dr. Douglas Foster, Abilene Christian University professor of church history and director of the Center for Restoration Studies, was one of three general editors of the Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement.

The book, published by Eerdmans, includes more than 700 original articles by 300 authors covering every aspect of the history and theology of the movement.

The introduction is scheduled to coincide with the bicentennial of the signing of the Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery, which also marks the 200th anniversary of the Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches, all of which share a heritage in the Stone-Campbell Movement.

On June 28, 1804, Barton W. Stone and five  other ministers of the Presbyterian Church signed the Last Will and Testament, which declared freedom from creeds and the clerical system and called for union "with the body of Christ at large." This document is considered the beginning point of the Stone-Campbell Movement, which brought about the Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches.

The encyclopedia is an unprecedented collaboration between the three streams of the movement, Foster said.

"Writers, board members and the three general editors have modeled a spirit of cooperation and unity because of our shared commitments and shared heritage," Foster said. "People who wouldn’t have been co-workers under normal circumstances have collaborated in a marvelous way to produce this important volume  and will be forever together within its pages."

The idea for the work originated nearly 14 years ago, and the book has been more than a decade in the making.  The publication date for the book is September, but bound text proofs will be available at the debut in June.

Foster said the book is aimed at a general non-specialist audience and will be an important and thought-provoking resource.

"Knowing your history is part of your spiritual formation – realizing we are part of something larger," Foster said. "It will be an occasion for the three groups to meet each other and share time together.  It is one of the symbols of a new day –we're reexamining why we went our separate ways.  And it causes us to ask ourselves, 'Are our differences significant enough to keep us from enjoying and sharing fellowship?' This encyclopedia will help us understand ourselves better."

Although it will be close to 900 pages in length, the reference book will be relatively inexpensive at approximately $45.  It appears in Eerdman’s fall catalog.

The debut of the encyclopedia will take place on the first day of a three-day bicentennial celebration in Cane Ridge, Ky.  Other events scheduled include tours of the grounds, a re-enactment of the signing and several lectures.


If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Wendy Kilmer, Director of Public Relations.

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